Matt Knight

My thoughts on faith, books, and life in general

Category Archives: wisdom

Leave a Legacy

A little over a week ago, we had a big retirement ceremony for my boss and mentor. We call him “Chappy” and he’s one of the best bosses I could have hoped to work for.LegacyTree

He is leaving our team to go back to the civilian world and pastor a church.

Our loss is their gain.

I wish him all the best.

Some other pastors spoke at Chappy’s retirement ceremony. The opening prayer was offered by a couple who mentored Chappy many years ago when he first entered the ministry. What’s amazing is that another local pastor also shared how this same couple had influenced him as he entered ministry. Both Chappy and this local pastor have a great influence in our community and beyond. But what struck me was the incredible legacy and influence of this couple who had invested in these two pastors and so many others.
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Seek Wisdom

Each week, I share a weekly spiritual thought with my team. This week we talked about seeking wisdom.

This was a continuation of the thought I shared last week about forgiveness. Both are part of the 7 Decisions for Success from The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews.

“Knowing that wisdom waits to be gathered, I will actively search her out.”

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Dealing with Criticism

This week, I spoke to the leaders in my circle about Criticism.

Author and motivator Tim Sanders says criticism is like a nut. You eat the meat and spit out the shell.

Each of us will deal with criticism. It’s been said that, “if you’re not being criticized, you’re probably not doing much” (Donald Rumsfeld). Whether you’re in the spotlight or working behind the scenes, you will face critics.

Sometimes the criticism is justified. There are times when we deserve correction or advice. Other times, people can simply be petty, mean, or simply wrong about us. That’s why we have to take the good, and throw out the bad.

Legendary coach John Wooden said, “You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.” It’s important that we not get sidetracked from our mission in life by either praise or by criticism. We’ve got to use it to make ourselves better, and move forward.

There are two key elements to dealing with criticism. The first is to learn how to receive it. The second piece is learning to give it.

For some, criticizing others comes easy. This is dangerous, because we may need to learn when to keep our opinions to ourselves. We should only give criticism when it is helpful. Before you or I open our mouth to criticize, we need to stop an think about whether it’s constructive or destructive. If it doesn’t serve any positive purpose, let’s keep our mouths shut.

For others, it’s important to learn to speak up when something needs to be said. Some people see problems that others may overlook, but fail to speak up. At best, this can rob others of encouragement or correction that they need. At worst, it harms others. When engineers see a critical design flaw in a product, they must speak up, so that defective products don’t endanger the public. When we fail to correct, we allow problems to continue and grow.

To on the giving side, it’s important to learn how to give criticism, as well as when or when not to give it.

Truth = Freedom

We live in a world filled with lies.

People have all kinds of “reasons” for not telling the truth, and they can hide it for a time; but in the end the truth will come out.

In the news these days, we have seen a number of high profile stories about people who have been caught trying to hide the truth. When they’re finally caught, the truth is exposed for all to see. Sometimes the truth can be ugly. When it is, we have a tendency to try to cover it up, so nobody can see. The result isn’t a pretty thing. When we cover up the truth, we experience fear (that someone will find out), guilt, and anxiety.

Lies imprison us, and only the truth can set us free.
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Coping with Change

It’s been said that the only constant in life is change. In our lives, we constantly must deal with changes. Maybe it’s big changes, like a career move, a marriage or a divorce, or other big life change. But we also face small changes – maybe it’s bad weather that forces a change of plans, or someone around us doesn’t do what we hope or expect. In times like this, we have to be able to deal with change.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference…” – Reinhold Niebur

When we fail to change, we can get stuck in a rut. One of my college professors, Dr Paul Fink, said “a rut is just a grave with the ends knocked out.” This reminds us that if we’re alive, we need to make appropriate and necessary changes. The only institution that rejects change, it’s been said, is the cemetery.

Change can be difficult, but we can do it.

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Am I my own favorite speaker?

Sometimes I act like I’m my own favorite speaker, and I’ll bet you too may have this before (especially if you’re an extrovert like me).

A big part of my job involves interacting with people from my community, and one thing I do a lot is listen to what they have to say. Talking comes easy for me – listening, not so much. Even though I’ve had training to be an effective listener, it still can be hard.

The other day at work, a lady was talking with me, but I found it hard to be a good listener. You see, I kept wanting to interrupt and give my opinion while she was talking. Not only would this have been impolite, but I realized that (honestly) the things I wanted to say weren’t really that important anyway. It was more important for me to listen to her than to talk.

Reflecting on this and other similar situations, I realized that sometimes I talk as though I’m my own favorite speaker. Maybe you can relate. Sometimes we can talk just to fill the silence or maybe to hear the sound of our own voice. Nobody wants to be characterized that way: “they love the sound of their own voice.” What’s worse, nobody wants to listen to these “super talkers” – trust me, I’ve been around a few. It leaves me praying, “please God don’t let me be like that.”

Proverbs 18:2 says, “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.” Wise people listen, but fools only talk. I don’t know about you, but I want to be wise. There’s also the matter of pride. The proud person believes that what they have to say really matters, but nothing you have to say could be important.

Have you ever been around someone who talks and never listens?
Have you ever been that kind of talker?
What did you learn from that situation?

Everyone Needs Mentors

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, To Timothy, my true child in the faith:Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” 1 Tim 1:1-2

Paul was a mentor to Timothy. He was like a father in the faith. All of us need spiritual mothers and fathers – mentors. Paul may not have led Timothy to faith in Christ (it may have been Timothy’s mother and grandmother – cf. 2 Tim 1:5).

Just this week I was encouraged by spending time with several other ministers. I had a great time with my contemporaries and some dear friends, but I also got to connect with some elder ministers. I am always glad when I get to glean wisdom from older ministers and men of faith. These are men who have walked with God for many years and have gained wisdom and experience that can be of great value to me.

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What the Bible says about fools

Today is April Fool’s Day, so I thought it would be appropriate to share some ways to identify a fool. In the Bible, “Fool” is the word that is used to characterize someone who is lacking in moral character.

Here’s what ancient Hebrew wisdom has to say about fools:

– They hate, or make fun of, wisdom and discipline (Proverbs 1:7, 22; 15:5; 23:9)
– They live lives that dishonor their families (Prov 10:1)
– They are always talking and never listen (Prov 10:8,10; 12:15; 15:2; 18:2)
– They spread gossip (Prov 10:18)
– They have poor judgment (Prov 10:21)
– They say “there is no God” or live like it (Psalm 14:1)
– They have no self control (Prov 12:16; 23; 14:16; 20:3; 29:11)
– They don’t plan ahead, but instead “live for today” (Prov 21:20)

I can think of more than one time that almost every one of these has been true of me. Have you ever been foolish? How did you change?